Apple® and Eve’s Choice

Ever wonder about the Apple icon? The apple with a bite taken from it?

Once upon a time, the story goes, a woman named Eve took a bite from an apple that brought the fall of humanity.

Or did something else happen? Here’s the story:

Adam and Eve lived in the paradisiacal Garden of Eden. God told them they could eat from all the trees except the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eat this fruit, and surely die. But one day a snake told Eve: Die? You will not die. If you eat this fruit you will become wise like God, knowing good from evil. Desiring wisdom, Eve took the fruit and ate, and gave some to her husband, who also ate. Upon discovering the breach, God cast Adam and Eve out of their lovely garden and into a harsh world.

Hence, the Fall.

There are other ways of understanding this story.

The story can be seen as a metaphor of human life. Children are born into a state of innocence, with all their needs attended to. Life is cushy. Others make their decisions. But then they reach “the terrible two’s” when they begin to rebel and think for themselves. Disobedience sounds bad. But what happens to a person who just does what they’re told all of their lives? Or who never struggles with anything?

And is greater wisdom, knowing good from evil, a bad thing?

If Adam and Eve had stayed in the garden forever, certainly things would have been pleasant. But would they have grown? Would they have gained any wisdom? Life would have gone on as it always had. Always staying the same.

In choosing this icon Steve Jobs, who placed his headquarters at the corner of Technology and Liberal Arts, knew the power of a symbol. He also had ways of seeing that others lack.

Apple’s early logo slapped a rainbow on the very archetype of human fallenness and failure – the bitten fruit – and turned it into a sign of promise and progress.

In Steve Jobs’ commencement speech at Stanford he talked about the power of failure — how you learn from it.

There is no progress when we stay static. When we are afraid to fail. When we fail to think. And when we avoid struggle.

Choose wisdom. Choose growth. Choose, the bitten apple seems to say.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on October 14, 2011, in feminism, psychology, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. The creation of the Apple logo had very little, if nothing at all, to do with Adam and Eve. In fact, here’s how the Apple logo came to be.

    “The first Apple logo was designed by Ron Wayne, co-founder of Apple Computer. It was rather a picture than a logo. It showed Sir Isaac Newton sitting beneath the famous Apple tree thinking about gravity.
    It was only used for the Apple I. Steve Jobs felt that it was too intellectual and it was almost impossible to put on computers as one could only recognize the details of the drawing when it was large enough.

    Therefore, in 1977 Jobs asked the art designer Rob Janoff to design the new Apple logo. The new logo had a simple shape of an Apple, bitten into, with the colors of the rainbow in the wrong order. The bite symbolized knowlegde (in the bible the apple was the fruit of the tree of knowledge) and the bite could also be pronounced “byte”, a reference to computer technology.

    In 1997, Steve Jobs decided to drop the multi-colored Apple logo and replace it by a solid-colored logo. The first Apple computers to feature the new logo were the new PowerBook G3s in 1998 (although they still featured both types of logos).”

    • Re: The bite symbolized knowledge (in the bible the apple was the fruit of the tree of knowledge)

      Yeah, that’s what I said. I then offered a reworking of the Adam and Eve story, and told what the logo said to me.

  2. Taylor Groseclose

    I never thought about the apple logo or what it could symbolize. However, after reading about how it can be a symbol of defying what we know is safe and secure in order to explore and discover the unknown, I believe it is the perfect symbol for apple. It’s hard to imagine if 6 or 7 years ago Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak had decided to not invest in the idea of an iphone, and instead just live in the pleasant garden. So much of Apple’s success has come from them taking a risk, or a bite from the apple, but when they were in the decision making process the did not know wether it would lead to success. And not all of there technology has been succesful, but they have learned and still continue to learn from it.

  3. Steve Jobs was a pioneer,who showed many people that all you have to do is set a goal,and dedicate yourself to accomplish it.The apple is the just a symbol,and may be referred to as the”taking risk sign”.Also,Steve was fighting an illness and still contributed and will continue to contibute to society.Great words of wisdom,great man,great man!

  4. WOW…never really gave it a thought, the hidden message behind the symbol is very different yet interesting. So what i understand from the blog is that one should see both sides of the picture and then decide which one to choose. In this case Apple’s technology especially I phones have a huge impact on kids not only in the states but all over the world now where it the most productive and useful gadget it is also a very dangerous one. A kid on its on can do whatever, wherever they want so my question is according to the symbolic meaning behind the logo, is it ok for a kid to see both sides at a very young age?
    Apart from that…. Jobs also is a role model for the youth, his life achievements gave a strong message to “just think and do it” and then ACHIEVE.

  5. Meseret Workneh

    I have always known the apple to be the symbol of Steve’s Job’s Apple, but it I never really occurred to me to consider that it could be a metaphor with regards to the story of Adam and Eve. I would agree with the author of this article and Steve Job that in life, the more we struggle, the more likely we are to make it especially when starting from ground level. I would also agree with both that we should never give up when we fail. Interpreting this article with regards to the story of creation can be tricky, but however it should be noted that in the story of creation, there is a greater power who tells Adam and Eve what not to do or face the consequences.

    In every society there is governing system in place with rules and regulations that everyone in that society must follow or face consequences. For example it is illegal to abuse others sexually or physically in this country, and therefore going against these for the sake of experiencing what is out of this arena just to discern good from evil will merely land one in serious trouble. Also going against the policies in a job setting will certainly result to losing one’s job. Therefore, it is not always safe to explore the other side of good just for the sake of discernment and growth.

    At the Stanford commencement, in his speech, Steve job particularly mentioned how his first business start- up was snatched from by the venture capitalist which caused him to fall, but he never gave up until he started Apple. In this sense, it is good not to give up, and it is good to explore the unknown because one has got nothing to lose per say except succeed or fail.
    Personally, I would rather interpret the symbol of the bitten apple as, “life is tough, but there could be hope if we struggle.

  6. After knowing the meaning of the logo of Apple Inc. by reading this article and watching Steve Jobs’ speech at Stanford, I highly appreciate Steve’s creativity and love the meaning behind. I share similar views with the author that human history cannot be made without disobedience. If human obey God’s will or every rule that is commanded by the authority, a society will be the same forever. Nothing has to be recorded because every ritual remains the same over time. However, it is important for people to learn from failure and experiences how to break away the rules with wisdom and courage. As I studied different Psychological experiments, it is concluded in Zimbardo’s and Asch’s experiments that people, even those who go to colleges, have a higher tendency to conform to the majority group than to deliberately think and to choose based on intelligence, internalized moral values. At schools, students learn to be open-minded and accept others’ suggestions. However, they, too, learn to give up their thoughts and conform with the majority in order to excape from responsibilities. They also learn to put trust in the group rather than their own selves. In short, for the health of one’s self and that of a society, we should practise how to think independently, make our own choices and take the responsibilities by ourselves, throughout our lifetimes.

  7. Yes I believe that all children born into this world are in a state of innocence because when your born you don’t know anything. You learn from your parents who are supposed to teach you right from wrong in life. When a person does what there told all of their lives or never struggles with anything, they do all the right things in life. Let’s say they mess up or make a mistake, they might not know how to handle the situation. They might get stressed out or panic that something isn’t perfect, but not everythings perfect. The person would just need to know how to handle things better. Maybe seeing a counselor would help with dealing with the situation.
    I would say with great wisdom comes with great responsibilities. Knowing good from evil isn’t a bad thing because it’s like knowing right from wrong. You don’t do the wrong thing because it will get you in trouble.
    I would say that they wouldn’t grow very much or gain and wisdom because they couldn’t eat from the Tree of Knowledge. I think life would stay they same but they decided to disturb with what God had in store for them by listening to a snake.

  8. Well, whichever way you slice it (or take a bite out of it), I find the story of the Apple symbol very interesting. Personally, I have always had a hard time with the various versions of Adam and Eve, but I’ll save those comments for another time. For now, I wonder if we could add another twist on the story. What if the story of Adam and Eve really means that Eve, realizing that knowledge is the only path worthwhile, takes a bite out of the apple, and, caring for her partner, convinces him to join her. In fact then, we could say women are the true fearless, cooperative and benevolent beings who spend time and energy into creating harmony on behalf of and along side with, their partner. Fearless in that she knows she is not supposed to take a bite but also knows that knowledge is understanding; cooperative in that she is not selfish in pursuing this on her own; benevolent because she took the time to think about this on behalf of her partner. Why does she have to be the evil one? Maybe she just knew there was more beyond paradise.

    • Yes. I think it’s interesting that we can take stories that have been used to blame women and see them as evil, and see how they can be reinterpreted in opposite ways — very positive ways, in fact.

  9. Unlike the other bloggers I never really knew what the background of choosing the logo for the Apple Computer was. I always knew what the apple symbolised but I didn’t know that Steven Jobs used the symbol of the apple for that specific reason. But since we are talking about good and evil. Thats correct Eve did have the choice to pick from right and wrong and her decision was obiously made. And Adam loving his wife so much he followed what she did and took the bite of the apple. Instead of listening to God’s command. If Eve had listen to what God had said we wouldn’t be here we wouldn’t be living in a world of pain and suffering,we would all be at peace with God.Although Eve is to be blamed for so is Adam and Satin. If Adam would have decided to not follow Eve and followed God then maybe that could have been our second chance. And If satin wouldn’t have tempted Even and stayed away from God’s creation and wouldn’t have been jealous of God, after God made him one of the most beautiful Angels in heaven we would still been in heaven living a beautiful life with our lord and savior Jesus Christ. But since we are here now and because of that decision that was made in the garden of eden, we must learn to live with sin in our lifes because honestly we have no choice. And none of us are perfect, but with God on our side we can lean on him and we have that assurance that we are not alone. What If steven Jobs did choose this logo because of its biblical meaning then that’s great. Good choice.

  10. This is really interesting as I never thought the Apple sign has something to do with Adam and Eve. I was raised by my religious grandmother and very much aware of the story of Adam and Eve. I am surprised of a lot of interpretations of many, of how women actually committed the sin in the Garden of Eve. I heard my grandmother argue with someone about Adam and Eve. Adam was created first, parts of him was taken to create Eve. So meaning men really have the power over us, for without men, women will not be living. So who is more important? Men came first, God and Jesus are both portrayed as Men, and even the Bible refers to God as He. As my grandma argued that men obviously cannot live alone that is why Eve was created by God. The conversation continued that it would have been a better world if Eve did not have to commit sin, we would still live in the perfect world, the paradise.
    As Eve took a bite of the forbidden fruit, now women are seen weak and easily tempted to commit a sin. Which in my opinion we can still relate to in many ways. Men are to take care of us financially but really women do the hard work. Men might be called head of the household but women do still keep everything under the roof together. It might have change now for women who are more successful in their career but the problems face at home because of this is still a big issue. As the Husband’s ego may be hurt, the wife still has to find the balance to let them feel that their role is important. It makes it harder to deal with the stereotype that Men should be the one working.
    I was not really sure who won the argument; I think they both have their own opinions, with the respect of the importance of men and women. People will have their own point of view, in reality men and women need each other.

    • re: Adam was created first, parts of him was taken to create Eve. So meaning men really have the power over us, for without men, women will not be living. So who is more important? Men came first, God and Jesus are both portrayed as Men, and even the Bible refers to God as He.

      Other interpretations:
      Looking at evolution, creation moves to higher and higher forms. So women being created last makes her the pinacle. She’s the highest form of all. Adam was created from dust (lower) while Eve was created from a human (higher). [Not to say women are therefore better, but look how interpretations change.]

      Woman created from rib, near the heart. Well, how important is heart? Warmth, love connection.

      The Hebrew word “bet” can mean over or with. So theirs a command that Adam rule over, or alternatively, with Eve.

      The Bible does refer to God as he. But scripture comes from people of their time. Early parts of the Bible are not monotheistic. It’s more like “my god” (Jehovah) is better than your god. Many versions of scripture refer to “the gods” in Geneis. Also, Apostles disagree w/each other, so the Bible could not be infallable. Paul and James disagree on whether we are saved by grace or good works. Paul and Peter (I think) disagreed on Christians keeping kosher and circumcising adult men. The people of that time would have had great difficulty conceiving of God as having a female component. More importantly, the Bible also said (look to earlier publications from the 1970s and earlier that use the plural): The gods created man (generic he?) in OUR image, male and female. So that suggests that God is both male and female. Jesus took the form of a man, but he only had two choices, and in that society Jesus would have been completely powerless as a “she.” Women of that time were not allowed to be students of religion, let alone teach it. Jesus was feminist in saying that women should learn, too. A woman annoints Jesus before he goes to the cross — probably the most important annointing of Christianom. When Jesus returns he first appears to women and tells them to go tell the apostles and tell them he’s returned. By the time of Acts, women are in roles of deacons and apostles.

      Whether you’re a believer or not, you can find plenty in this that goes against patriarchy.

  11. I have been totally clueless about that logo though I thought it exquisite. Your interepretation of sounds spot on to me. So does the first comment that gives the history of this logo. I won’t look at it the same way again. Jobs was clearly a man of depth so I am sure the whole theme of knowledge and Wisdom did inform the design.

  12. I had never thought of the Apple symbol in this way. I am quite familiar with the story of Adam and Eve growing up Christian, but never delved into the pop culture references. The story itself is interesting in the way that it almost vilifies Eve. She is the one that damns mankind, even though she was in the same state of innocence as Adam. She was in a childlike state and convinced by the snake or devil to partake in the fruit. It was hardly her fault, she was curious as any simple person would be. As humans it is in our nature to explore the unknown even if we are expressly told to refrain. I definitely see the connection that Steve Jobs could make with the story, he wanted to push boundaries and explore what he could do in the world of technology. He was willing to take the scorn of the technological world, who claimed his early products were simple and continue on with his work.

  13. When I was a little girl my grandma had told me about the story of Adam and Eve. I recall that the story involved Eve eating a forbidden apple and giving her husband Adam some too. They were punished with a life of struggle but evidently free-will was given to them and they had some choices to make. I think Steve Jobs was trying to incorporate this story of how (some believe) life began in his apple logo. The bite in the apple most likely means wisdom and knowledge which is something that Jobs was trying to show for his company. Steve Jobs single-handily changed the world of technology, he pushed boundaries others were afraid to push, he took risks and at first he was as successful but he was determined.

  14. This reminds me of a short story I once wrote about Eve. In the end, the reader finds out that she consumed the fruit intentionally in order to avoid a life of ignorance and obedience. I was never happy with it, though, and planned to re-write it. Maybe I’ll have to add that to my growing list of projects. 😉 If I remember, I will share it with you next time I see you.

  15. Loved this, Georgia–thanks for linking it back.

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